Cranial morphological variability of a small Neotropical cat revealed by geometric morphometrics

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The jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) has one of the most extensive latitudinal ranges among felids of the western hemisphere. Its wide geographic distribution and range of habitats may result in patterns of cranial morphological variation. Thus, we investigated the hypothesis of the existence of morphological ecotypes adapted to specific environments used by the species. The crania of 54 museum specimens from three different ecoregions in Brazil were digitized in ventral, dorsal, and lateral views. No sexual dimorphism was detected. Our hypothesis was supported because the specimens from the Amazon were significantly larger than those from the Atlantic Forest and Uruguayan savanna. Cranial shape variation between sexes, as well as among ecoregions, was mostly explained by the effect of size. Correlations between geographical distance and cranial shape were not significant. There was a significant correlation between cranium size and latitude, in a pattern that is the reverse of Bergmann’s rule, with larger specimens in lower latitudes. The environmental variables positively correlated with cranium size indicated that larger cats occurred in regions with greater temperature and precipitation. Resource availability might be the cause of the observed variation in cranium size, since jaguarundis probably show different prey size preferences along the species distribution range. However, more ecological data for most ecoregions are needed to test the “resource rule” and to fully understand the patterns and causes of this cat’s cranial variation.


Variabilidade morfológica craniana de um pequeno felino neotropical, revelada pela morfometria geométrica. O jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) possui uma das faixas latitudinais mais extensas entre os felídeos do Hemisfério Ocidental. Sua ampla distribuição geográfica e variedade de habitats podem resultar em padrões de variação morfológica do crânio. Assim, investigamos a hipótese da existência de ecótipos morfológicos adaptados aos ambientes específicos utilizados pela espécie. Os crânios de 54 espécimes de museus de três diferentes ecorregiões no Brasil foram digitalizados nas vistas ventral, dorsal e lateral. Não foi detectado dimorfismo sexual no tamanho. Nossa hipótese foi corroborada, pois os espécimes da Amazônia são significativamente maiores do que os da Mata Atlântica e da Savana Uruguaia. A variação da forma do crânio entre os sexos, bem como entre ecorregiões, está correlacionada com a variação de tamanho. Correlações entre distância geográfica e forma do crânio não foram significativas. Houve correlação significativa entre tamanho e latitude, em um padrão inverso da regra de Bergmann, com espécimes maiores observados nas menores latitudes. As variáveis ambientais correlacionadas positivamente com o tamanho indicaram felinos maiores ocorrendo em regiões com maior temperatura e precipitação. A disponibilidade de recursos pode ser a causa da variação de tamanho observada, uma vez que aparentemente o jaguarundi preda presas de tamanhos diferentes ao longo de sua distribuição. Porém, são necessários mais dados ecológicos das demais ecorregiões, para testar a “regra do recurso” e elucidar os padrões e causas da variação do crânio deste felino.

Abundance and activity patterns of the margay (Leopardus wiedii) at a mid-elevation site in the Eastern Andes of Ecuador

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We investigated abundance and activity patterns of the margay (Leopardus wiedii) via remote camera-trapping at Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary, a new preserve located near Sumaco National Park, in the eastern Andean foothills of Ecuador. We recorded 85 capture events and ten individuals, including one juvenile, over a total of 3220 camera-trap nights. Activity was mostly nocturnal and we found no difference in abundance between primary and secondary forest. Our capture rate (2.64 captures/100 camera-trap nights) indicates a high abundance of margays in the region. The site lies within a matrix of agricultural lands and the high abundance and seasonal occurrence data seem to suggest that while one or two females may occupy the area permanently, most margays likely use the site as a corridor. Continued deforestation and habitat alteration pose a serious threat to the margays of the region. The data we present here suggest that an unusually high abundance of margays occur at the site, making it an important area for continued research and conservation efforts.


Abundancia y patrones de actividad del margay (Leopardus wiedii) en un sitio de elevación media en los Andes Orientales de Ecuador. Hemos investigado la abundancia y los patrones de actividad del margay o tigrillo (Leopardus wiedii) a través de cámaras-trampa remotas en el Santuario de Vida Silvestre Wildsumaco, una nueva reserva situada cerca del Parque Nacional Sumaco, en las estribaciones orientales de los Andes del Ecuador. Se registraron 85 capturas de diez individuos, incluyendo un individuo juvenil, tras un total de 3220 trampas noche. La actividad registrada fue principalmente nocturna y no encontramos diferencias en la abundancia entre bosque primario y secundario. Nuestra tasa de captura (2.64 capturas/100 trampas noche) indica una gran abundancia de tigrillos en la región. El sitio se encuentra dentro de una matriz de tierras agrícolas, y la frecuencia de registros y la ocurrencia estacional parecen sugerir que, si bien una o dos hembras pueden ocupar el área de forma permanente, es probable que la mayoría de los tigrillos utilice el sitio como un corredor. La persistente deforestación y la alteración del hábitat representan una amenaza grave para los tigrillos en la región. Los datos que aquí presentamos indican una abundancia anormalmente alta de tigrillos en esta zona, por lo que esta constituye un área importante para continuar con la investigación y los esfuerzos de conservación.

Puma concolor (Carnivora, Felidae) en Uruguay: situación local y contexto regional

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La presencia actual de Puma concolor en Uruguay ha sido controversial. En este trabajo se reportan registros recientes de la especie para el país, junto a una síntesis de registros históricos. En base a estos, diferentes hipótesis acerca del origen de los ejemplares uruguayos son discutidas. El puma no está extinto aún en el país. No obstante, debe ser considerada como una especie severamente amenazada. Estudios poblacionales y medidas urgentes de protección a escala regional son necesarias para la conservación del puma en Uruguay.


Puma concolor (Carnivora, Felidae) in Uruguay: local situation and regional context. Modern presence of Puma concolor in Uruguay has been controversial. Recent records of the species in Uruguay are reported in this work, with a synthesis of historical records. On this basis, different hypothesis about the origin of Uruguayan individuals are discussed. Pumas have not yet gone extinct in the country. However, it must be considered a highly endangered species. Population studies and urgent management actions within a regional scale are needed for puma conservation in Uruguay.

Uso de hábitat de carnívoros simpátricos en una zona de bosque seco tropical de Colombia

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Se realizó un estudio sobre el uso del hábitat de tres especies de carnívoros en un área de bosque seco tropical en el Fuerte Militar de Tolemaida. La importancia de esta zona se debe a que contiene un remanente de bosque seco con acceso restringido, lo que le permitiría ser una posible área de conservación de fauna, teniendo en cuenta el alto grado de degradación de estos bosques en Colombia. Se instalaron trampas de huellas con estaciones olfativas en diferentes coberturas vegetales como bosque, arbustal y pastizal. Para analizar el uso del hábitat se aplicó la prueba Z de Bonferroni con intervalos del 95% de confianza. Cerdocyon thous y Leopardus pardalis prefirieron arbustales, mientras que Puma yagouaroundi prefirió bosque y arbustal. Posiblemente el arbustal sea usado como zona de forrajeo o de paso entre bosques. Adicionalmente las tres especies se encontraron asociadas al agua, vías y viviendas de la zona. La presencia de las tres especies tanto en los bosques como en los arbustales muestra la importancia de los dos tipos de cobertura vegetal para permitir su presencia en el fuerte militar. Dado el acceso restringido y el nivel de protección al interior de las áreas militares, sugerimos considerar estas áreas en planes de manejo y conservación.


Habitat use by sympatric carnivores in a tropical dry forest area of Colombia. The objective of this study was to make an estimation of how three species of carnivores use the habitat in an area of Tropical Dry Forest located in the Tolemaida Military Base (Colombia, South America). Track traps with olfactory stations were used on different vegetation covers such as forest, shrubs and high grasses. For the statistical analysis we used the Bonferroni Z Test with a 95% confidence interval for habitat use establishment. After the study, we were able to conclude that Cerdocyon thous and Leopardus pardalis preferred the shrub habitat, while Puma yagouaroundi preferred the shrub and forest zones. There is still a possibility that the shrub is used as a foraging zone or as a passing area between forests. Additionally, we were able to associate these three species to water, roads and housing areas. Traces of these three species were found in the forest as well as in the shrubs, showing the importance of both types of vegetation covers for their presence in the military base. Considering the restricted access and level of protection inside the base, our suggestion is to regard these areas for conservation and planning programs.